In Home Euthanasia
In home euthanasia provides a way for pets to pass with dignity and comfort in their own home. Families can grieve in the privacy of their home without having to hold back tears in a waiting room, and pets do not experience the fearful trip to the veterinary hospital. Dr. Bennett offers assistance with the entire 'end of life' process, including sedation, euthanasia, and care of remains. Dr. Bennett's Mobile Veterinary Service also offers hospice, end-of-life evaluation, and treatment of chronic disease.
When is it time to Euthanize a pet?
Deciding to euthanize a pet is a challenging process for most people. Often caretakers are unsure or confused over the timing or what justifies pet euthanasia. However, the decision-making process can be more straightforward if one considers the following factors and variables.
Pets quality of life
Dogs and Cats, descendants of apex predators, are not programmed to mask illness and pain like birds, rodents, and other prey animals. Therefore, a quality of life assessment can be relatively straightforward. Understanding a pet's medical condition and identifying the signs of pain and discomfort is essential in determining whether euthanasia is indicated or justified.
The following is a list of signs that could indicate a pet is suffering and in need of euthanasia.
1) Increased respiratory effort and rate, chronic persistent coughing, and exercise intolerance.
2) Insatiable hunger and thirst. Not eating or drinking.
3) Reluctance to move.
4) No longer greeting caretakers, not interested in the environment
5) Not wagging tail or tail between legs
6) Vocalizing, shaking, hiding
8) Staring into space, pressing head in a corner, general confusion, unable to navigate the environment, atypical aggression.
9) Constant itching or self-trauma (chewing, licking)
10) Chronic and persistent vomiting, diarrhea, seizures
11) Loss of body condition, emaciation, weakness
12) Contorted postures, fidgetiness, repetitive efforts to get comfortable
Scoring systems incorporating the signs of pain, mobility, posture, and behavior are available to help determine the quality of a pet's life. However, most caretakers have watched their pet deteriorate over time and ultimately know whether their pet is suffering or not. A quality of life assessment by a veterinarian will help validate the decision to euthanize or treat with palliative measures.
Challenges of caring for a sick or compromised pet
It is also essential to consider the well-being of the caretaker and other family members. The human and animal relationship must be beneficial for both parties. Caretakers often must endure vocalizing at night, incontinence, paralysis, and other problems. It is not selfish or unethical to consider the burden caretakers must bear when contemplating euthanasia of a pet or continued palliation.
The practicality of moving forward medically Vs. euthanasia.
It is sad but true that expenses are often a factor when considering treatment options for sick or injured pets. Emergencies, hospitalization, advanced treatments, or surgeries can cost thousands of dollars. Affordability, unfortunately, is a factor for many people and must be considered in the decision to pursue medical treatment or euthanasia.
Pet caretakers should not feel guilty about having to make a tough decision based on expense.
It is also essential to consider the willingness of family members to euthanize. Palliative measures and hospice care may be an option to allow time for family members to become ready. Grief counselors are available for family members who have difficulty coming to grips with a pet's passing.
These are all factors in deciding to euthanize a pet. Dr. Bennett's Veterinary House Calls is here to help you through the process.
The process of in home euthanasia
There are three stages of at home euthanasia: sedation, euthanasia, and care of remains.
Sedation: Dr. Bennett will administer a sedative to the pet, leading to a comfortable sleep within 1-7 minutes. After receiving the sedative, pets feel euphoric and at ease as they gently fall asleep. Once asleep, the pet will not feel any pain or anxiety before or during the euthanasia.
Euthanasia: As soon as the pet is asleep, Dr. Bennett will administer the euthanasia solution, which causes instant passing.
Care of remains: After the euthanasia is complete, Dr. Bennett offers to leave the family/caretaker alone with their pet for up to 15 minutes so they can continue to say goodbye and grieve. Dr. Bennett also offers to take the remains at once if preferred. Dr. Bennett and his assistant will take the remains and provide private cremation with ashes returned, or communal cremation with no ashes returned. Caretakers also have the option of caring for the remains. Family members may be present or not for any part of the euthanasia process.
Preparing for at home euthanasia
1) Family members should decide if they want to be present during the euthanasia process before the doctor's arrival; however, Dr. Bennett can also help with this decision. Many family members prefer to only be present during the sedation but not the euthanasia. If a family member or caretaker chooses, they do not have to be present for any part of the process.
2) A decision should also be made regarding the aftercare desired for the pet: Private cremation with ashes returned or communal cremation with no ashes returned.
3) A nice place with bedding or a blanket should be designated for euthanasia. Preferably, there is lighting with minimal distraction. Cramped spaces are discouraged.
4) Upon arrival, Dr. Bennett will ask that the necessary paperwork be signed and payment collected before performing the euthanasia so that caretakers do not need to fumble with payment while grieving after the euthanasia.
Dr. Bennett offers two choices for the care of remains:
Private Cremation: Remains cremated individually, the ashes are collected and returned to the caretaker.
- Urns come in a standard or upgraded style.
- Standard: Cedar urn with pets name engraved on a plate centered on the side of the box.
- Upgraded: Cedar urn may have multiple lines of engraving with the choice of an engraved paw print. Other assorted urns are available.
Communal Cremation: Remains cremated with the remains of other animals with no ashes returned.
Dr. Bennett Veterinary House Calls provides in-home euthanasia services to the East Bay Area including Contra Costa County and parts of Alameda County and Vallejo. Service area includes Walnut Creek, Lafayette , Concord, Pleasant Hill, Orinda, Moraga, Alamo, Martinez, Danville, Hercules, Pinole, El Sobrante, Oakland, Martinez, Berkeley, Piedmont, Richmond, Albany, Kensington, Point Richmond, Albany and Kensington.